Former Detroit Lions quarterback said his farewells to the city that first drafted him into the NFL in 2009.
The team posted an emotional tribute video of Stafford titled, "Thank you, not goodbye."
- What's next? Lions trade Stafford to LA for Goff, draft picks
"I will always have a connection to this place. The connection beyond all the records, the milestones, the stats. To me, creating a legacy is much bigger than that. It is about making an impact on the lives of others. Being your strongest self through times of diversity, and always, letting people know that no matter what happens, you stand for something real," Stafford said in the video. "That is me. That is this city."
Stafford signed off the video, saying "sincerely, number nine."
Stafford played 12 seasons with the Lions, being the No. 1 draft pick in 2009. He has been one of the NFL's most prolific passers during his 12-year career spent entirely in Detroit, but has never won a playoff game.
Stafford had two years left on a $135 million, five-year contract.
The Lions announced Jan 31, 2021, that they would trade Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for quarterback Jared Goff, two future first-round draft picks and a third-round pick.